The MPhil (Applied Epidemiology), colloquially known as the MAE program, is a two year research degree that trains the public health leaders of the future. Through the MAE program, scholars undertake a work placement, a short period of intensive coursework, and completion of a research thesis.
The MAE program is Australia’s only Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP), and achieved TEPHINET accreditation in 2018. The MAE aims to build a highly skilled epidemiology workforce and strengthen capacity to prepare, protect, and respond to communicable disease and other health threats in Australia and our region. The National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health (NCEPH) at the Australian National University (ANU) has run the MAE program since 1991 and 217 individuals have graduated since that time.
During the MAE, scholars spend the majority of their time in a field placement, typically a government health department or a research institute. While in their placements scholars complete at least 4 useful and important research projects to meet the core competencies of outbreak investigation, surveillance, epidemiological project and data analysis.
Learning in the field placements is supported by 3 coursework intensives at ANU (total of 6-8 weeks) where scholars complete relevant coursework. Scholars are also required to complete other course requirements including teaching, writing a peer review paper and presenting their work at a national or international conference.
MAE scholars have investigated over 300 outbreaks and established or evaluated many surveillance systems, including the national notifiable disease surveillance system. MAE scholars make up a key workforce for large-scale infectious disease events, such as the response to pandemic (H1N1) influenza in 2009 and Ebola virus in 2014. The graduates are also a critical resource in meeting Australia’s obligations under the International Health Regulations. MAE graduates have made significant contributions to disease control and prevention, both in Australia and overseas. Program alumni have risen to be leaders in the field, taking up senior positions in national and international organizations, such as federal and state departments of health, schools of public health at various universities, the World Health Organization (WHO), and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). In 2019, the MAE program in partnership with the Australian Government Indo-Pacific Centre for Health Security, launched the ASEAN-Australia Health Security Fellowship program. Fellows from ASEAN countries will undertake the MPhil at ANU and Australian fellows will undertake field placements over one to two years in ASEAN partner nations, fostering relationships and building capability in the region.